Although Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing—or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.
A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville’s novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow’s nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851—at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab’s and Ishmael’s worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been entirely foreign, if not absurd, to Melville, King argues that Melville’s narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism.
Featuring a coffer of illustrations and an array of interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab’s Rolling Sea offers new insight not only into a cherished masterwork and its author but also into our evolving relationship with the briny deep—from whale hunters to climate refugees.
Most current fishing practices are neither economically nor biologically sustainable. Every year, the world spends $80 billion buying fish that cost $105 billion to catch, even as heavy fishing places growing pressure on stocks that are already struggling with warmer, more acidic oceans. How have we developed an industry that is so wasteful, and why has it been so difficult to alter the trajectory toward species extinction?
In this transnational, interdisciplinary history, Carmel Finley answers these questions and more as she explores how government subsidies propelled the expansion of fishing from a coastal, in-shore activity into a global industry. While nation states struggling for ocean supremacy have long used fishing as an imperial strategy, the Cold War brought a new emphasis: fishing became a means for nations to make distinct territorial claims. A network of trade policies and tariffs allowed cod from Iceland and tuna canned in Japan into the American market, destabilizing fisheries in New England and Southern California. With the subsequent establishment of tuna canneries in American Samoa and Puerto Rico, Japanese and American tuna boats moved from the Pacific into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans after bluefin. At the same time, government subsidies in nations such as Spain and the Soviet Union fueled fishery expansion on an industrial scale, with the Soviet fleet utterly depleting the stock of rosefish (or Pacific ocean perch) and other groundfish from British Columbia to California. This massive global explosion in fishing power led nations to expand their territorial limits in the 1970s, forever changing the seas.
Looking across politics, economics, and biology, All the Boats on the Ocean casts a wide net to reveal how the subsidy-driven expansion of fisheries in the Pacific during the Cold War led to the growth of fisheries science and the creation of international fisheries management. Nevertheless, the seas are far from calm: in a world where this technologically advanced industry has enabled nations to colonize the oceans, fish literally have no place left to hide, and the future of the seas and their fish stocks is uncertain.
Between 1949 and 1955, the State Department pushed for an international fisheries policy grounded in maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The concept is based on a confidence that scientists can predict, theoretically, the largest catch that can be taken from a species’ stock over an indefinite period. And while it was modified in 1996 with passage of the Sustained Fisheries Act, MSY is still at the heart of modern American fisheries management. As fish populations continue to crash, however, it is clear that MSY is itself not sustainable. Indeed, the concept has been widely criticized by scientists for ignoring several key factors in fisheries management and has led to the devastating collapse of many fisheries.
Carmel Finley reveals that the fallibility of MSY lies at its very inception—as a tool of government rather than science. The foundational doctrine of MSY emerged at a time when the US government was using science to promote and transfer Western knowledge and technology, and to ensure that American ships and planes would have free passage through the world’s seas and skies. Finley charts the history of US fisheries science using MSY as her focus, and in particular its application to halibut, tuna, and salmon fisheries. Fish populations the world over are threatened, and All the Fish in the Sea helps to sound warnings of the effect of any management policies divested from science itself.
Among Giants: A Life with Whales
Charles "Flip" Nicklin with K. M. Kostyal University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress QL737.C4N475 2011 | Dewey Decimal 599.5
It all started in 1965 with a guy riding a whale. The guy was Flip Nicklin’s father, Chuck, and the whale was an unlucky Bryde’s Whale that had gotten caught up in some anchor line. Hoping to free the whale, Chuck and some friends took their boat as near as they could, and, just before they cut it loose, Chuck posed astride it for a photo.
That image, carried on wire services nationwide, became a sensation and ultimately changed the life of Chuck’s young son, Flip. In the decades since that day, Flip Nicklin has made himself into the world’s premier cetacean photographer. It’s no exaggeration to say that his photos, published in such venues as National Geographic and distributed worldwide, have virtually defined these graceful, powerful creatures in the mind of the general public—even as they helped open new ground in the field of marine mammalogy.
Among Giants tells the story of Nicklin’s life and career on the high seas, from his first ill-equipped shoots in the mid-1970s through his long association with the National Geographic Society to the present, when he is one of the founders of Whale Trust, a nonprofit conservation and research group. Nicklin is equal parts photographer, adventurer, self-trained scientist, and raconteur, and Among Giants reflects all those sides, matching breathtaking images to firsthand accounts of their making, and highlighting throughout the importance of conservation and new advances in our understanding of whale behavior. With Nicklin as our guide, we see not just whales but also our slowly growing understanding of their hidden lives, as well as the evolution of underwater photography—and the stunning clarity and drama that can be captured when a determined, daring diver is behind the lens.
Humpbacks, narwhals, sperm whales, orcas—these and countless other giants of the ocean parade through these pages, spouting, breaching, singing, and raising their young. Nicklin’s photographs bring us so completely into the underwater world of whales that we can’t help but feel awe, while winning, personal accounts of his adventures remind us of what it’s like to be a lone diver sharing their sea.
For anyone who has marveled at the majesty of whales in the wild, Among Giants is guaranteed to be inspiring, even moving—its unmatched images of these glorious beings an inescapable reminder of our responsibility as stewards of the ocean.
Maddalena Bearzi Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress QL737.P96B39 2008 | Dewey Decimal 599.881513
Apes and dolphins: primates and cetaceans. Could any creatures appear to be more different? Yet both are large-brained intelligent mammals with complex communication and social interaction. In the first book to study apes and dolphins side by side, Maddalena Bearzi and Craig B. Stanford, a dolphin biologist and a primatologist who have spent their careers studying these animals in the wild, combine their insights with compelling results. Beautiful Minds explains how and why apes and dolphins are so distantly related yet so cognitively alike and what this teaches us about another large-brained mammal: Homo sapiens.
Noting that apes and dolphins have had no common ancestor in nearly 100 million years, Bearzi and Stanford describe the parallel evolution that gave rise to their intelligence. And they closely observe that intelligence in action, in the territorial grassland and rainforest communities of chimpanzees and other apes, and in groups of dolphins moving freely through open coastal waters. The authors detail their subjects’ ability to develop family bonds, form alliances, and care for their young. They offer an understanding of their culture, politics, social structure, personality, and capacity for emotion. The resulting dual portrait—with striking overlaps in behavior—is key to understanding the nature of “beautiful minds.”
Alaska pollock is everywhere. If you’re eating fish but you don’t know what kind it is, it’s almost certainly pollock. Prized for its generic fish taste, pollock masquerades as crab meat in california rolls and seafood salads, and it feeds millions as fish sticks in school cafeterias and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at McDonald’s. That ubiquity has made pollock the most lucrative fish harvest in America—the fishery in the United States alone has an annual value of over one billion dollars. But even as the money rolls in, pollock is in trouble: in the last few years, the pollock population has declined by more than half, and some scientists are predicting the fishery’s eventual collapse.
In Billion-Dollar Fish, Kevin M. Bailey combines his years of firsthand pollock research with a remarkable talent for storytelling to offer the first natural history of Alaska pollock. Crucial to understanding the pollock fishery, he shows, is recognizing what aspects of its natural history make pollock so very desirable to fish, while at the same time making it resilient, yet highly vulnerable to overfishing. Bailey delves into the science, politics, and economics surrounding Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, detailing the development of the fishery, the various political machinations that have led to its current management, and, perhaps most important, its impending demise. He approaches his subject from multiple angles, bringing in the perspectives of fishermen, politicians, environmentalists, and biologists, and drawing on revealing interviews with players who range from Greenpeace activists to fishing industry lawyers.
Seamlessly weaving the biology and ecology of pollock with the history and politics of the fishery, as well as Bailey’s own often raucous tales about life at sea, Billion-Dollar Fish is a book for every person interested in the troubled relationship between fish and humans, from the depths of the sea to the dinner plate.
The Biology of Sharks and Rays is a comprehensive resource on the biological and physiological characteristics of the cartilaginous fishes: sharks, rays, and chimaeras. In sixteen chapters, organized by theme, A. Peter Klimley covers a broad spectrum of topics, including taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and physiology. For example, he explains the body design of sharks and why the ridged, toothlike denticles that cover their entire bodies are present on only part of the rays’ bodies and are absent from those of chimaeras. Another chapter explores the anatomy of the jaws and the role of the muscles and teeth in jaw extension, seizure, and handling of prey. The chapters are richly illustrated with pictures of sharks, diagrams of sensory organs, drawings of the body postures of sharks during threat and reproductive displays, and maps showing the extent of the species’ foraging range and long-distance migrations. Each chapter commences with an anecdote from the author about his own personal experience with the topic, followed by thought-provoking questions and a list of recommended readings in the scientific literature.
The book will be a useful textbook for advanced ichthyology students as well as an encyclopedic source for those seeking a greater understanding of these fascinating creatures.
Who among us hasn’t marveled at the diversity and beauty of shells? Or picked one up, held it to our ear, and then gazed in wonder at its shape and hue? Many a lifelong shell collector has cut teeth (and toes) on the beaches of the Jersey Shore, the Outer Banks, or the coasts of Sanibel Island. Some have even dived to the depths of the ocean. But most of us are not familiar with the biological origin of shells, their role in explaining evolutionary history, and the incredible variety of forms in which they come.
Shells are the external skeletons of mollusks, an ancient and diverse phylum of invertebrates that are in the earliest fossil record of multicellular life over 500 million years ago. There are over 100,000 kinds of recorded mollusks, and some estimate that there are over amillion more that have yet to be discovered. Some breathe air, others live in fresh water, but most live in the ocean. They range in size from a grain of sand to a beach ball and in weight from a few grams to several hundred pounds. And in this lavishly illustrated volume, they finally get their full due.
The Book of Shells offers a visually stunning and scientifically engaging guide to six hundred of the most intriguing mollusk shells, each chosen to convey the range of shapes and sizes that occur across a range of species. Each shell is reproduced here at its actual size, in full color, and is accompanied by an explanation of the shell’s range, distribution, abundance, habitat, and operculum—the piece that protects the mollusk when it’s in the shell. Brief scientific and historical accounts of each shell and related species include fun-filled facts and anecdotes that broaden its portrait.
The Matchless Cone, for instance, or Conus cedonulli, was one of the rarest shells collected during the eighteenth century. So much so, in fact, that a specimen in 1796 was sold for more than six times as much as a painting by Vermeer at the same auction. But since the advent of scuba diving, this shell has become far more accessible to collectors—though not without certain risks. Some species of Conus produce venom that has caused more than thirty known human deaths.
The Zebra Nerite, the Heart Cockle, the Indian Babylon, the Junonia, the Atlantic Thorny Oyster—shells from habitats spanning the poles and the tropics, from the highest mountains to the ocean’s deepest recesses, are all on display in this definitive work.
"Part review, part testament to extraordinary dedication, and part call to get involved, Cetacean Societies highlights the achievements of behavioral ecologists inspired by the challenges of cetaceans and committed to the exploration of a new world."—from the preface by Richard Wrangham
Long-lived, slow to reproduce, and often hidden beneath the water's surface, whales and dolphins (cetaceans) have remained elusive subjects for scientific study even though they have fascinated humans for centuries. Until recently, much of what we knew about cetaceans came from commercial sources such as whalers and trainers for dolphin acts. Innovative research methods and persistent efforts, however, have begun to penetrate the depths to reveal tantalizing glimpses of the lives of these mammals in their natural habitats.
Cetacean Societies presents the first comprehensive synthesis and review of these new studies. Groups of chapters focus on the history of cetacean behavioral research and methodology; state-of-the-art reviews of information on four of the most-studied species: bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales; and summaries of major topics, including group living, male and female reproductive strategies, communication, and conservation drawn from comparative research on a wide range of species.
Written by some of the world's leading cetacean scientists, this landmark volume will benefit not just students of cetology but also researchers in other areas of behavioral and conservation ecology as well as anyone with a serious interest in the world of whales and dolphins.
Contributors are Robin Baird, Phillip Clapham, Jenny Christal, Richard Connor, Janet Mann, Andrew Read, Randall Reeves, Amy Samuels, Peter Tyack, Linda Weilgart, Hal Whitehead, Randall S. Wells, and Richard Wrangham.
To the average office-dweller, marine scientists seem to have the good life: cruising at sea for weeks at a time, swimming in warm coastal waters, living in tropical paradises. But ocean scientists who go to sea will tell you that it is no vacation. Creature comforts are few and the obstacles seemingly insurmountable, yet an abundance of wonder and discovery still awaits those who take to the ocean. Chasing Science at Sea immerses readers in the world of those who regularly go to sea—aquanauts living underwater, marine biologists seeking unseen life in the deep ocean, and the tall-ship captains at the helm, among others—and tells the fascinating tale of what life—and science—is like at the mercy of Mother Nature.
With passion and wit, well-known marine scientist Ellen Prager shares her stories as well as those of her colleagues, revealing that in the field ingenuity and a good sense of humor are as essential as water, sunblock, and GPS. Serendipity is invaluable, and while collecting data is the goal, sometimes just getting back to shore means success. But despite the physical hardship and emotional duress that come with the work, optimism and adventure prompt a particularly hardy species of scientist to return again and again to the sea.
Filled with firsthand accounts of the challenges and triumphs of dealing with the extreme forces of nature and the unpredictable world of the ocean, Chasing Science at Sea is a unique glimpse below the water line at what it is like and why it is important to study, explore, and spend time in one of our planet’s most fascinating and foreign environments.
Nearly 60% of the world's population lives and works within 100 miles of a coast, and even those who don't are connected to the world's oceans through an intricate drainage of rivers and streams. Ultimately the whole of humankind is coastal.Coastal Waters of the World is a comprehensive reference source on the state of the world's coastal areas. It focuses on the tremendous pressures facing coastal areas and the management systems and strategies needed to cope with them. Don Hinrichsen explores the origins and implications of three related issues: the overwhelming threats to our coastal resources and seas from population and pollution; the destruction of critical resources through unsustainable economic activity; and the inability of governments to craft and implement rational coastal management plans.Introductory chapters present a concise summary of our coastal problems, including coastal habitat degradation and the fisheries crisis, along with a discussion of better management options. Three case studies of successful coastal governance focus on some of the problems and bring to life potential solutions. Following that are regional profiles that provide detailed information on the main population, resource, and management challenges facing each of the world's thirteen major coastal waters and seas. The profiles are presented in a standard format to allow for ease of comparison between regions, and accessibility of information. The book ends with a realistic and practical agenda for action that can be implemented immediately.Safeguarding these complex, interlinked ecosystems is humanity's most challenging management job. Coastal Waters of the World will help raise our awareness of coastal area concerns and provide a constructive contribution to the ongoing debate over how to manage these ever-changing areas, both for ourselves and for future generations. It will serve as a valuable reference tool and an up-to-date resource for policymakers, management specialists, and students interested in sustainable coastal governance.
In 1999, off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, the first gray whale in seven decades was killed by Makah whalers. The hunt marked the return of a centuries-old tradition and, predictably, set off a fierce political and environmental debate. Whalers from the Makah Indian Tribe and antiwhaling activists have clashed for over twenty years, with no end to this conflict in sight.
In Contesting Leviathan, anthropologist Les Beldo describes the complex judicial and political climate for whale conservation in the United States, and the limits of the current framework in which whales are treated as “large fish” managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Emphasizing the moral dimension of the conflict between the Makah, the US government, and antiwhaling activists, Beldo brings to light the lived ethics of human-animal interaction, as well as how different groups claim to speak for the whale—the only silent party in this conflict. A timely and sensitive study of a complicated issue, this book calls into question anthropological expectations regarding who benefits from the exercise of state power in environmental conflicts, especially where indigenous groups are involved. Vividly told and rigorously argued, Contesting Leviathan will appeal to anthropologists, scholars of indigenous culture, animal activists, and any reader interested in the place of animals in contemporary life.
In the songs and bubble feeding of humpback whales; in young killer whales learning to knock a seal from an ice floe in the same way their mother does; and in the use of sea sponges by the dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia, to protect their beaks while foraging for fish, we find clear examples of the transmission of information among cetaceans. Just as human cultures pass on languages and turns of phrase, tastes in food (and in how it is acquired), and modes of dress, could whales and dolphins have developed a culture of their very own?
Unequivocally: yes. In The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, cetacean biologists Hal Whitehead, who has spent much of his life on the ocean trying to understand whales, and Luke Rendell, whose research focuses on the evolution of social learning, open an astounding porthole onto the fascinating culture beneath the waves. As Whitehead and Rendell show, cetacean culture and its transmission are shaped by a blend of adaptations, innate sociality, and the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live: a watery world in which a hundred-and-fifty-ton blue whale can move with utter grace, and where the vertical expanse is as vital, and almost as vast, as the horizontal.
Drawing on their own research as well as a scientific literature as immense as the sea—including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience—Whitehead and Rendell dive into realms both humbling and enlightening as they seek to define what cetacean culture is, why it exists, and what it means for the future of whales and dolphins. And, ultimately, what it means for our future, as well.
Humans aside, dolphins, whales, and porpoises are often considered to be the smartest creatures on Earth. Science and nature buffs are drawn to stories of their use of tools, their self-recognition, their beautiful and complex songs, and their intricate societies. But how do we know what we know, and what does it mean? In Deep Thinkers, renowned cetacean biologist Janet Mann gathers a gam of the world’s leading whale and dolphin researchers—including Luke Rendell, Hal Whitehead, and many more—to illuminate these vital questions, exploring the astounding capacities of cetacean brains.
Diving into our current understanding of and dynamic research on dolphin and whale cognition, communication, and culture, Deep Thinkers reveals how incredibly sophisticated these mammals are—and how much we can learn about other animal minds by studying cetacean behavior. Through a combination of fascinating text and more than 150 beautiful and informative illustrations, chapters compare the intelligence markers of cetaceans with those of birds, bats, and primates, asking how we might properly define intelligence in nonhumans. As all-encompassing and profound as the seas in which these deep cetacean cultures have evolved, Deep Thinkers is an awesome and inspiring journey into the fathoms—a reminder of what we gain through their close study, and of what we lose when the great minds of the sea disappear.
The comparative physiology of seemingly disparate organisms often serves as a surprising pathway to biological enlightenment. How appropriate, then, that Robert Elsner sheds new light on the remarkable physiology of diving seals through comparison with members of our own species on quests toward enlightenment: meditating yogis.
As Elsner reveals, survival in extreme conditions such as those faced by seals is often not about running for cover or coming up for air, but rather about working within the confines of an environment and suppressing normal bodily function. Animals in this withdrawn state display reduced resting metabolic rates and are temporarily less dependent upon customary levels of oxygen. For diving seals—creatures especially well-adapted to prolonged submergence in the ocean’s cold depths—such periods of rest lengthen dive endurance. But while human divers share modest, brief adjustments of suppressed metabolism with diving seals, it is the practiced response achieved during deep meditation that is characterized by metabolic rates well below normal levels, sometimes even approaching those of non-exercising diving seals. And the comparison does not end here: hibernating animals, infants during birth, near-drowning victims, and clams at low tide all also display similarly reduced metabolisms.
By investigating these states—and the regulatory functions that help maintain them—across a range of species, Elsner offers suggestive insight into the linked biology of survival and well-being.
Who hasn’t fantasized about the unique thrill of working among charismatic and clever dolphins in the wild? Now we no longer have to rely solely on our imaginations . With Dolphin Confidential, Maddalena Bearzi invites all of us shore-bound dreamers to join her and travel alongside the dolphins. In this fascinating account, she takes us inside the world of a marine scientist and offers a firsthand understanding of marine mammal behavior, as well as the frustrations, delights, and creativity that make up dolphin research.
In this intimate narrative, Bearzi recounts her experiences at sea, tracing her own evolution as a woman and a scientist from her earliest travails to her transformation into an advocate for conservation and dolphin protection. These compelling, in-depth descriptions of her fieldwork also present a captivating look into dolphin social behavior and intelligence. The central part of the book is devoted to the metropolitan bottlenose dolphins of California, as Bearzi draws on her extensive experience to offer insights into the daily lives of these creatures—as well as the difficulties involved in collecting the data that transforms hunches into hypotheses and eventually scientific facts. The book closes by addressing the critical environmental and conservation problems facing these magnificent, socially complex, highly intelligent, and emotional beings.
An honest, down-to-earth analysis of what it means to be a marine biologist in the field today, Dolphin Confidential offers an entertaining, refreshingly candid, and always informative description of life among the dolphins.
Conventional management approaches cannot meet the challenges faced by ocean and coastal ecosystems today. Consequently, national and international bodies have called for a shift toward more comprehensive ecosystem-based marine management. Synthesizing a vast amount of current knowledge, Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans is a comprehensive guide to utilizing this promising new approach.
At its core, ecosystem-based management (EBM) is about acknowledging connections. Instead of focusing on the impacts of single activities on the delivery of individual ecosystem services, EBM focuses on the array of services that we receive from marine systems, the interactive and cumulative effects of multiple human activities on these coupled ecological and social systems, and the importance of working towards common goals across sectors. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans provides a conceptual framework for students and professionals who want to understand and utilize this powerful approach. And it employs case studies that draw on the experiences of EBM practitioners to demonstrate how EBM principles can be applied to real-world problems.
The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to social and ecological resilience —the extent to which a system can maintain its structure, function, and identity in the face of disturbance. Utilizing the resilience framework, professionals can better predict how systems will respond to a variety of disturbances, as well as to a range of management alternatives. Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans presents the latest science of resilience, while it provides tools for the design and implementation of responsive EBM solutions.
Known as the Garden State, New Jersey could also be called the Fishing State. New Jersey boasts more than 6,000 miles of rivers and streams; 24,000 acres of public lakes, reservoirs and ponds; 420 square miles of open bay and estuary waters; and 120 miles of ocean coast — with nearly every gallon of water swimming with a remarkable variety of fish.
Using his more than 50 years of personal and academic observations, Glenn R. Piehler has written the perfect guidebook for new and proficient anglers, as well as students of fisheries science.
Piehler begins with the taxonomic origins and classification of almost 100 species of fresh and saltwater sport fishes described in the book, as well as “a number of creatures you might unwittingly hook into . . . with just enough technical jargon and information on the general biology of fishes to make the remaining chapters more winning,” he writes. “In each case I have tried to capture the essence of each species or group of species—what they look like, how big they get, where they came from, what kind of waterbodies they live in, what they do for a living, generally how and when they may be caught, how they’ve fared over the years and are doing today, and where you can get more specific information about some of them.”
Exit Here for Fish examines the factors affecting the distribution and abundance of fish, probing the controversies surrounding preservation efforts, and the apportionment of fish among sport and commercial interests. Piehler looks at the seldom-examined history of fisheries and laws dealing with their management, habitats, and water quality. Finally, he lists a host of activities readers can enjoy, such as fish tagging and volunteering for the Wildlife Conservation Corps, to help preserve and protect the fun of fishing.
Between the surface of the sea and depths of two hundred meters lies a remarkable range of fish, generally known as pelagics, or open-ocean dwellers. These creatures are among the largest, fastest, highest-leaping, and most migratory fish on the entire planet. Beautifully adapted to their world, they range from tiny drift fish and plankton-straining whale sharks to more streamlined predators such as tuna, marlin, sailfish, and wahoo.
Fishes of the Open Ocean, from leadingmarine biologistand world authorityon the subject JulianPepperell, is the firstbook to comprehensivelydescribe thesefishes and explore thecomplex and oftenfragile world in whichthey live. In whatwill be the definitivebook on the subject for years to come—and, with over three hundredcolor images, the most lavishly produced as well—Pepperell details theenvironment and biology of every major species of fish that inhabitsthe open ocean, an expanse that covers 330 million cubic miles and isthe largest aquatic habitat on the Earth. The first section of the bookintroduces the various evolutionary forms these fish have taken, as wellas the ways in which specific species interact and coevolve withothers in the food web. A chapter on commercial andsport fisheries explores the human element in thisrealm and considers such issues as sustainability,catch-and-release initiatives, and the risks of extinction.
The second section of the book provides species accounts of open ocean dwellers organized by group, with overviews and general descriptions that are inclusive of range and distribution, unique physiological and morphological attributes, and the role of each species within its ecosystem. Global distribution maps, original illustrations from renowned artist and scientist Guy Harvey, and truly stunning images from some of the world’s leading underwater photographers round out this copiously illustrated volume.
Fish bones in the caves of East Timor reveal that humans have systematically fished the seas for at least 42,000 years. But in recent centuries, our ancient, vital relationship with the oceans has changed faster than the tides. As boats and fishing technology have evolved, traditional fishermen have been challenged both at sea and in the marketplace by large-scale fishing companies whose lower overhead and greater efficiency guarantee lower prices. In Fishing Lessons, Kevin M. Bailey captains a voyage through the deep history and present course of this sea change—a change that has seen species depleted, ecosystems devastated, and artisanal fisheries transformed into a global industry afloat with hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Bailey knows these waters, the artisanal fisheries, and their relationship with larger ocean ecology intimately. In a series of place-based portraits, he shares stories of decline and success as told by those at the ends of the long lines and hand lines, channeling us through the changing dynamics of small-scale fisheries and the sustainability issues they face—both fiscal and ecological. We encounter Paolo Vespoli and his tiny boat, the Giovanni Padre,in the Gulf of Naples; Wenche, a sea Sámi, one of the indigenous fisherwomen of Norway; and many more. From salmon to abalone, the Bay of Fundy to Monterey and the Amazon, Bailey’s catch is no fish tale. It is a global story, casting a net across waters as vast and distinct as Puget Sound and the Chilean coast. Sailing across the world, Bailey explores the fast-shifting current of how we gather food from the sea, what we gain and what we lose with these shifts, and potential solutions for the murky passage ahead.
“Preternaturally hardened whale dung” is not the first image that comes to mind when we think of perfume, otherwise a symbol of glamour and allure. But the key ingredient that makes the sophisticated scent linger on the skin is precisely this bizarre digestive by-product—ambergris. Despite being one of the world’s most expensive substances (its value is nearly that of gold and has at times in history been triple it), ambergris is also one of the world’s least known. But with this unusual and highly alluring book, Christopher Kemp promises to change that by uncovering the unique history of ambergris.
A rare secretion produced only by sperm whales, which have a fondness for squid but an inability to digest their beaks, ambergris is expelled at sea and floats on ocean currents for years, slowly transforming, before it sometimes washes ashore looking like a nondescript waxy pebble. It can appear almost anywhere but is found so rarely, it might as well appear nowhere. Kemp’s journey begins with an encounter on a New Zealand beach with a giant lump of faux ambergris—determined after much excitement to nothing more exotic than lard—that inspires a comprehensive quest to seek out ambergris and its story. He takes us from the wild, rocky New Zealand coastline to Stewart Island, a remote, windswept island in the southern seas, to Boston and Cape Cod, and back again. Along the way, he tracks down the secretive collectors and traders who populate the clandestine modern-day ambergris trade.
Floating Gold is an entertaining and lively history that covers not only these precious gray lumps and those who covet them, but presents a highly informative account of the natural history of whales, squid, ocean ecology, and even a history of the perfume industry. Kemp’s obsessive curiosity is infectious, and eager readers will feel as though they have stumbled upon a precious bounty of this intriguing substance.
The world’s oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Confronted with the immensity of these challenges and of the oceans themselves, we might wonder what more can be done to stop their decline and better protect the sea and marine life. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In Future Sea, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. Questioning the underlying philosophy of established ocean conservation approaches, Rowan Wright lays out a radical alternative: a bold and far-reaching strategy of 100 percent ocean protection that would put an end to destructive industrial activities, better safeguard marine biodiversity, and enable ocean wildlife to return and thrive along coasts and in seas around the globe.
Future Sea is essentially concerned with the solutions and not the problems. Rowan Wright shines a light on existing international laws intended to keep marine environments safe that could underpin this new strategy. She gathers inspiring stories of communities and countries using ocean resources wisely, as well as of successful conservation projects, to build up a cautiously optimistic picture of the future for our oceans—counteracting all-too-prevalent reports of doom and gloom. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, Future Sea not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.
Grab your tackle and hit the road with Ron Bern and Manny Luftglass as they take you to the choicest places to fish in New York in Gone Fishin': The 100 Best Spots in New York, their follow-up to the highly successful Gone Fishin': The 100 Best Spots in New Jersey.
Truly great freshwater and saltwater fishing abounds throughout the state, from the classic Catskills trout streams to the mighty Hudson and Delaware rivers; from Lake Ontario to the Finger Lakes; from Long Island Sound to the bluewater canyons off the coast; from saltwater bays to artificial reefs; from the smaller sweetwater rivers and New York City reservoirs to surprising trout streams and bass ponds on Long Island.
Luftglass and Bern provide readers with immediately useful insights into each of the 100 best sites. They furnish easy-to-follow directions, descriptions of the body of water, boat launch information, and detailed advice on live and artificial bait, fishing methods, equipment, depths, best times of day and year, secret tips particular to each site, and even specific places to work bait or lures. Gone Fishin' also includes places that are good for children, as well as those which are handicapped accessible.
Throughout the book, Bern and Luftglass share anecdotes about their own fishing adventures and some of the big ones that didn't get away in their more than 33 years of fishing together. The information they cram into every chapter will help you find the spot, fish it more effectively, and catch more fish.
Whether you fish 150 times a year or you are planning to fish for the first time, you're sure to fall hook, line, and sinker for this entertaining and educational guide.
The Persian Gulf’s marine environment has suffered from a variety of perturbations, most resulting directly or indirectly from the extraction of oil and subsequent development projects—drilling, refining, dredging, and landfilling, as well as from worldwide maritime transportation. In addition, the environment and its people have suffered from the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s and from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Since then the countries of the Gulf, in collaboration with regional and international organizations, have initiated extensive measures for the protection and conservation of the Gulf. One such initiative was the decision by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research to publish a state-of-the-art monograph to address and document the complex subject of the health and sustainability of the gulf ecosystem.
Jellyfish: A Natural History
Lisa-ann Gershwin University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress QL377.S4G46 2016 | Dewey Decimal 593.53
Jellyfish, with their undulating umbrella-shaped bells and sprawling tentacles, are as fascinating and beautiful as they are frightening and dangerous. They are found in every ocean at every depth, and they are the oldest multi-organed life form on the planet, having inhabited the ocean for more than five hundred million years. In many places they are also vastly increasing in number, and these population blooms may be an ominous indicator of the rising temperatures and toxicity of the world’s oceans.
Jellyfish presents these aquarium favorites in all their extraordinary and captivating beauty. Fifty unique species, from stalked jellyfish to black sea nettles, are presented in stunning color photographs along with the most current scientific information on their anatomy, history, distribution, position in the water, and environmental status. Foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin provides an insightful look at the natural history and biology of each of these spellbinding creatures, while offering a timely take on their place in the rapidly changing and deteriorating condition of the oceans. Readers will learn about immortal jellyfish who live and die and live again as well as those who camouflage themselves amid sea grasses and shells, hiding in plain sight.
Approachably written and based in the latest science and ecology, this colorful book provides an authoritative guide to these ethereal marine wonders.
Kaiaulu: Gathering Tides
Mehana Blaich Vaughan Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress S932.H3V38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 333.720996941
The tide is rising ahead of the early morning sun on the northeast coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i. Waves rush singing onto the outer reef where two throw net fishermen stalk the surge. An elderly woman with her silver hair in a kerchief makes her way toward shore, two octopuses tucked in her mesh bag. Within hours, two hundred tourists will snorkel, sunbathe, and teeter on the coral, few ever knowing that people fish here or that their catch sustains an entire kaiāulu (community) connected to this stretch of reef.
This coast is known as a playground for tourists and backdrop for Hollywood movies, but catch from small local reefs, and the sharing of this abundance, has sustained area families for centuries, helping them to thrive through tidal waves, hurricanes, an influx of new residents, and economic recessions. Yet fishing families are increasingly invisible and many have moved away, threatened by global commodification and loss of access to coastal lands that are now private retreats for star entertainers, investors, and dot-com millionaires.
Building on two decades of interviews with more than sixty Hawaiian elders, leaders, and fishermen and women, Kaiāulu shares their stories of enduring community efforts to perpetuate kuleana, often translated to mean “rights and responsibilities.” Community actions extend kuleana to include nurturing respectful relationships with resources, guarding and cultivating fishing spots, perpetuating collective harvests and sharing, maintaining connection to family lands, reasserting local governance rooted in ancestral values, and preparing future generations to carry on.
An important contribution to scholarship in the fields of natural resource management, geography, Indigenous Studies, and Hawaiian Studies, Kaiāulu is also a skillfully written and deeply personal tribute to a community based not on ownership, but reciprocity, responsibility, and caring for the places that shape and sustain us all.
Life in a Shell
Donald C. Jackson Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QL666.C5J28 2010 | Dewey Decimal 571.1792
Trundling along in essentially the same form for some 220 million years, turtles have seen dinosaurs come and go, mammals emerge, and humankind expand its dominion. Is it any wonder the persistent reptile bested the hare? In this engaging book physiologist Donald Jackson shares a lifetime of observation of this curious creature, allowing us a look under the shell of an animal at once so familiar and so strange. Here we discover how the turtle’s proverbial slowness helps it survive a long, cold winter under ice. How the shell not only serves as a protective home but also influences such essential functions as buoyancy control, breathing, and surviving remarkably long periods without oxygen, and how many other physiological features help define this unique animal. Jackson offers insight into what exactly it’s like to live inside a shell—to carry the heavy carapace on land and in water, to breathe without an expandable ribcage, to have sex with all that body armor intervening. Along the way we also learn something about the process of scientific discovery—how the answer to one question leads to new questions, how a chance observation can change the direction of study, and above all how new research always builds on the previous work of others. A clear and informative exposition of physiological concepts using the turtle as a model organism, the book is as interesting for what it tells us about scientific investigation as it is for its deep and detailed understanding of how the enduring turtle “works.”
Humans are terrestrial animals, and our capacity to see and understand the importance and vulnerability of life in the sea has trailed our growing ability to harm it. While conservation biologists are working to address environmental problems humans have created on land, loss of marine biodiversity, including extinctions and habitat degradation, has received much less attention. At the same time, marine sciences such as oceanography and fisheries biology have largely ignored issues of conservation. Marine Conservation Biology brings together for the first time in a single volume leading experts from around the world to apply the lessons and thinking of conservation biology to marine issues. Contributors including James M. Acheson, Louis W. Botsford, James T. Carlton, Kristina Gjerde, Selina S. Heppell, Ransom A. Myers, Julia K. Parrish, Stephen R. Palumbi, and Daniel Pauly offer penetrating insights on the nature of marine biodiversity, what threatens it, and what humans can and must do to recover the biological integrity of the world's estuaries, coastal seas, and oceans. Sections examine: distinctive aspects of marine populations and ecosystems; threats to marine biological diversity, singly and in combination; place-based management of marine ecosystems; the often-neglected human dimensions of marine conservation. Marine Conservation Biology breaks new ground by creating the conceptual framework for the new field of marine conservation biology -- the science of protecting, recovering, and sustainably using the living sea. It synthesizes the latest knowledge and ideas from leading thinkers in disciplines ranging from larval biology to sociology, making it a must-read for research and teaching faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and advanced undergraduate students (who share an interest in bringing conservation biology to marine issues). Likewise, its lucid scientific examinations illuminate key issues facing environmental managers, policymakers, advocates, and funders concerned with the health of our oceans.
Edited by Jon D. Witman and Kaustuv Roy University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress QH541.5.S3M2829 2009 | Dewey Decimal 577.7
Pioneered in the late 1980s, the concept of macroecology—a framework for studying ecological communities with a focus on patterns and processes—revolutionized the field. Although this approach has been applied mainly to terrestrial ecosystems, there is increasing interest in quantifying macroecological patterns in the sea and understanding the processes that generate them. Taking stock of the current work in the field and advocating a research agenda for the decades ahead, Marine Macroecology draws together insights and approaches from a diverse group of scientists to show how marine ecology can benefit from the adoption of macroecological approaches.
Divided into three parts, Marine Macroecology first provides an overview of marine diversity patterns and offers case studies of specific habitats and taxonomic groups. In the second part, contributors focus on process-based explanations for marine ecological patterns. The third part presents new approaches to understanding processes driving the macroecolgical patterns in the sea. Uniting unique insights from different perspectives with the common goal of identifying and understanding large-scale biodiversity patterns, Marine Macroecology will inspire the next wave of marine ecologists to approach their research from a macroecological perspective.
Conventional fishery management practices have failed to prevent the collapse of numerous fish stocks around the world. Amid growing concern about our ability to protect marine biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, scientists and managers alike are seeking alternative management tools. One of the most promising of those is no-take marine reserves -- areas of the sea where all consumptive use of natural resources is prohibited.
Marine Reserves is the first guidebook on no-take marine reserves, providing a synthesis of information on the underlying science, as well as design and implementation issues. The book, by Jack Sobel and Craig Dahlgren, describes the need for marine reserves and their potential benefits, examines how reserves can be designed to achieve specific objectives, and considers gaps in our knowledge and the research needed to address those gaps. Chapters examine: marine biological and geophysical issues relevant to reserve design; potential economic and biological benefits of marine reserves, and the likelihood of achieving them; influence of social and economic factors on reserve design and implementation; lessons learned from past efforts to establish marine reserves.
Also included are three case studies from California, Belize, and the Bahamas, as well as a review of experiences globally across a broad range of geographical locations, socioeconomic conditions, and marine environments. Case studies provide background on the history of marine reserves in each location, the process by which reserves were created, and the effect of the reserves on marine populations and communities as well as on human communities.
Marine Reserves represents an invaluable guide for fishery managers and marine protected area managers in creating and implementing effective marine reserves, and an accessible reference for environmentalists and others concerned with the conservation of marine resources. It will also be useful in undergraduate and graduate courses in marine ecology, fisheries, marine policy, and related fields.
Oceans 2020 presents a comprehensive assessment of the most important science and societal issues that are likely to arise in marine science and ocean management in the next twenty years. Sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), the book brings together the world's leading ocean scientists and researchers to analyze the state of marine science and technology, identify key scientific issues for sustainable development, and evaluate the capability of scientists, governments, and private-sector stakeholders to respond to those issues. Topics include:
basic ocean sciences
pressures on the coastal zone
climate change and the ocean
fisheries and fishery science in their search for sustainability
offshore industries including oil drilling, carbon sequestration, and manganese nodule mining
marine information for shipping and defense
Also included are chapters on cross-cutting issues including operational oceanography, ocean instrumentation and technology, developing frameworks for cooperation, and capacity building in developing nations. In addition, the book offers an introductory overview and a "Vision to 2020" that outlines a path to rational ocean governance. In each chapter, contributors give a brief but comprehensive overview of the subject and then consider what has been achieved in recent years, define the problems, outline solutions, and set forth recommendations on the needs for and directions of ocean science in support of sustainable development for the next twenty years.
Oceans 2020 suggests what can be done about major marine environmental issues through the better development and application of marine science and technology, focusing on the issues that are most closely related to human and sustainable development. It will help guide countries in developing their marine science and technology strategies and priorities and is an essential source of information for policymakers, government officials, resource managers, scientists, the media, and all those concerned with the current and future health of the oceans.
Covering nearly three-quarters of our planet, the world’s oceans are a vast and unique ecosystem from which all life on Earth originated. But each year the marine realm is more susceptible to harm by careless exploitation, and as demands for food, waste disposal, transport, and travel increase, the fate of the world’s oceans hangs in the balance. This timely guide offers the nonscientist an opportunity to appreciate the importance of this expansive—and fragile—frontier.
With selections chosen for their value in identifying the multiple uses of oceans, their resources, and the hurdles they face as the world’s population continues to expand and consume their resources at a staggering rate, Oceans collects more than thirty thematically arranged articles from the past decade, including recent pieces written in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. The bookfeatures articles that investigate the origins of the world’s oceans, the diversity of life in the water, the state of global fisheries, the dangers of natural disasters, and the perils oceans face, whether induced by nature or by humans.
With breadth of topics as wide as the ocean is deep, this Scientific American reader will engage general readers interested in the evolution, ecology, and conservation of the oceanic ecosystem and can be used in courses on introductory oceanography, environmental science, and marine biology.
"Cephalopods are often misunderstood creatures. Three biologists set the record straight."—Science News
Largely shell-less relatives of clams and snails, the marine mollusks in the class Cephalopoda—Greek for “head-foot”—are colorful creatures of many-armed dexterity, often inky self-defense, and highly evolved cognition. They are capable of learning, of retaining information—and of rapid decision-making to avoid predators and find prey. They have eyes and senses rivaling those of vertebrates like birds and fishes, they morph texture and body shape, and they change color faster than a chameleon. In short, they captivate us.
From the long-armed mimic octopus—able to imitate the appearance of swimming flounders and soles—to the aptly named flamboyant cuttlefish, whose undulating waves of color rival the graphic displays of any LCD screen, there are more than seven hundred species of cephalopod. Featuring a selection of species profiles, Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish reveals the evolution, anatomy, life history, behaviors, and relationships of these spellbinding animals. Their existence proves that intelligence can develop in very different ways: not only are cephalopods unusually large-brained invertebrates, they also carry two-thirds of their neurons in their arms.
A treasure trove of scientific fact and visual explanation, this worldwide illustrated guide to cephalopods offers a comprehensive review of these fascinating and mysterious underwater invertebrates—from the lone hunting of the octopus, to the social squid, and the prismatic skin signaling of the cuttlefish.
Ask anyone to picture a bird or a fish and a series of clear images will immediately come to mind. Ask the same person to picture plankton and most would have a hard time conjuring anything beyond a vague squiggle or a greyish fleck. This book will change that forever.
Viewing these creatures up close for the first time can be a thrilling experience—an elaborate but hidden world truly opens up before your eyes. Through hundreds of close-up photographs, Plankton transports readers into the currents, where jeweled chains hang next to phosphorescent chandeliers, spidery claws jut out from sinuous bodies, and gelatinous barrels protect microscopic hearts. The creatures’ vibrant colors pop against the black pages, allowing readers to examine every eye and follow every tentacle. Jellyfish, tadpoles, and bacteria all find a place in the book, representing the broad scope of organisms dependent on drifting currents.
Christian Sardet’s enlightening text explains the biological underpinnings of each species while connecting them to the larger living world. He begins with plankton’s origins and history, then dives into each group, covering ctenophores and cnidarians, crustaceans and mollusks, and worms and tadpoles. He also demonstrates the indisputable impact of plankton in our lives. Plankton drift through our world mostly unseen, yet they are diverse organisms that form ninety-five percent of ocean life. Biologically, they are the foundation of the aquatic food web and consume as much carbon dioxide as land-based plants. Culturally, they have driven new industries and captured artists’ imaginations.
While scientists and entrepreneurs are just starting to tap the potential of this undersea forest, for most people these pages will represent uncharted waters. Plankton is a spectacular journey that will leave readers seeing the ocean in ways they never imagined.
Plastics have transformed every aspect of our lives. Yet the very properties that make them attractive—they are cheap to make, light, and durable—spell disaster when trash makes its way into the environment. Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is a beautifully-illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, their impacts on wildlife and people around the world, and inspirational initiatives designed to tackle the problem.
In Plastic Soup, Michiel Roscam Abbing of the Plastic Soup Foundation reveals the scope of the issue: plastic trash now lurks on every corner of the planet. With striking photography and graphics, Plastic Soup brings this challenge to brilliant life for readers. Yet it also sends a message of hope; although the scale of the problem is massive, so is the dedication of activists working to check it. Plastic Soup highlights a diverse array of projects to curb plastic waste and raise awareness, from plastic-free grocery stores to innovative laws and art installations.
According to some estimates, if we continue on our current path, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050. Created to inform and inspire readers, Plastic Soup is a critical tool in the fight to reverse this trend.
Articles cover a wide variety of recent topical issues in fisheries economics and the latest developments in the field, including marine protected areas, individual transferable quotas, fisheries subsidies, habitat values, data fouling, and rotational management of sedentary fishery resources. Seven of the articles were presented at the 2005 North American Association of Fisheries Economics Forum at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
This portrait of one of John Steinbeck's closest friends illuminates the life and work of a figure central to the development of scientific and literary thought in the 20th century.
Marine biologist Edward F. Ricketts is perhaps best known as the inspiration for John Steinbeck's most empathic literary characters Doc in Cannery Row, Slim in Of Mice and Men, Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath, and Lee in East of Eden. The correspondence of this accomplished scientist, writer, and philosopher reveals the influential exchange of ideas he shared with such prominent thinkers and artists as Henry Miller, Joseph Campbell, Ellwood Graham, and James Fitzgerald, in addition to Steinbeck, all of whom were drawn to Ricketts's Monterey Bay laboratory, a haven of intellectual discourse and Bohemian culture in the 1930s and 1940s.
The 125 previously unpublished letters of this collection, housed at the Stanford University Library, document the broad range of Ricketts's interests and accomplishments during the last 12 and most productive years of his life. His handbook on Pacific marine life, Between Pacific Tides, is still in print, now in its fifth edition. The biologist's devotion to ecological conservation and his evolving philosophy of science as a cross-disciplinary, holistic pursuit led to the publication of The Sea of Cortez. Many of Ricketts's letters discuss his studies of the Pacific littoral and his theories of “phalanx” and transcendence. Epistles to family members, often tender and humorous, add dimension and depth to Steinbeck's mythologized depictions of Ricketts. Katharine A. Rodger has enriched the correspondence with an introductory biographical essay and a list of works cited.
Sailing across time and geography, the imaginary and the real, The Sea chronicles the many physical and cultural meanings of the watery abyss.
This book explores the sea and its meanings from ancient myths to contemporary geopolitics, from Atlantis to the Mediterranean migrant crisis. Richard Hamblyn traces a cultural and geographical journey from estuary to abyss, beginning with the topographies of the shoreline and ending with the likely futures of our maritime environments. Along the way he considers the sea as a site of work and endurance; of story and song; of language, leisure, and longing. By meditating on the sea as both a physical and a cultural presence, the book shines new light on the sea and its indelible place in the human imagination.
Absolutely captivating creatures, seahorses seem like a product of myth and imagination rather than of nature. They are small, elusive, and are named for their heads, which are shaped like miniature ponies with tiny snouts. They swim slowly upright by rapidly fanning their delicate dorsal fin, coil their tails to anchor themselves in a drift, and spend days in a dancing courtship. Afterward, it is the male who carries the female’s eggs in his pouch and hatches the young. Seahorses are found worldwide, and they are highly sensitive to environmental destruction and disturbance, making them the flagship species for shallow-water habitat conservation. They are as ecologically important as they are beautiful.
Seahorses celebrates the remarkable variety of seahorse species as well as their exquisiteness. 57 species, including seadragons and pipefish, are presented in lush, life-size photographs alongside descriptive drawings, and each entry includes detailed and up-to-date information on natural history and conservation. Sara Lourie, a foremost expert on seahorse taxonomy, presents captivating stories of species that range from less than an inch to over a foot in height, while highlighting recent discoveries and ecological concerns. Accessibly written, but comprehensive in scope, this book will be a stunning and invaluable reference on seahorse evolution, biology, habitat, and behavior.
Masters of camouflage and rarely seen, seahorses continue to be a fascinating subject of active research. This visually rich and informative book is certain to become the authoritative guide to these charming and unusual wonders of the sea, beloved at aquariums the world over.
We have long lorded over the ocean. But only recently have we become aware of the myriad life-forms beneath its waves. We now know that this delicate ecosystem is our life-support system; it regulates the earth’s temperatures and climate and comprises 99 percent of living space on earth. So when we change the chemistry of the whole ocean system, as we are now, life as we know it is threatened.
In Seasick, veteran science journalist Alanna Mitchell dives beneath the surface of the world’s oceans to give readers a sense of how this watery realm can be managed and preserved, and with it life on earth. Each chapter features a different group of researchers who introduce readers to the importance of ocean currents, the building of coral structures, or the effects of acidification. With Mitchell at the helm, readers submerge 3,000 feet to gather sea sponges that may contribute to cancer care, see firsthand the lava lamp–like dead zone covering 17,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, and witness the simultaneous spawning of corals under a full moon in Panama.
The first book to look at the planetary environmental crisis through the lens of the global ocean, Seasick takes the reader on an emotional journey through a hidden realm of the planet and urges conservation and reverence for the fount from which all life on earth sprang.
Until recently, seaweed for most Americans was nothing but a nuisance, clinging to us as we swim in the ocean and stinking up the beach as it rots in the sun. With the ever-growing popularity of sushi restaurants across the country, however, seaweed is becoming a substantial part of our total food intake. And even as we dine with delight on maki, miso soup, and seaweed salads, very few of us have any idea of the nutritional value of seaweed. Here celebrated scientist Ole G. Mouritsen, drawing on his fascination with and enthusiasm for Japanese cuisine, champions seaweed as a staple food while simultaneously explaining its biology, ecology, cultural history, and gastronomy.
Mouritsen takes readers on a comprehensive tour of seaweed, describing what seaweeds actually are (algae, not plants) and how people of different cultures have utilized them since prehistoric times for a whole array of purposes—as food and fodder, for the production of salt, in medicine and cosmetics, as fertilizer, in construction, and for a number of industrial end uses, to name just a few. He reveals the vast abundance of minerals, trace elements, proteins, vitamins, dietary fiber, and precious polyunsaturated fatty acids found in seaweeds, and provides instructions and recipes on how to prepare a variety of dishes that incorporate raw and processed seaweeds. Approaching the subject from not only a gastronomic but also a scientific point of view, Mouritsen sets out to examine the past and present uses of this sustainable resource, keeping in mind how it could be exploited for the future. Because seaweeds can be cultivated in large quantities in the ocean in highly sustainable ways, they are ideal for battling hunger and obesity alike.
With hundreds of delectable illustrations depicting the wealth of species, colors, and shapes of seaweed, Seaweeds: Edible, Available, and Sustainable makes a strong case for granting these “vegetables from the sea” a prominent place in our kitchens.
When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life—to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten.
With Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses, Prager not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates. And while these animals make for some jaw-dropping stories—witness the sea cucumber, which ejects its own intestines to confuse predators, or the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime—there’s far more to Prager’s account than her ever-entertaining anecdotes: again and again, she illustrates the crucial connections between life in the ocean and humankind, in everything from our food supply to our economy, and in drug discovery, biomedical research, and popular culture.
Written with a diver’s love of the ocean, a novelist’s skill at storytelling, and a scientist’s deep knowledge, Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime enchants as it educates, enthralling us with the wealth of life in the sea—and reminding us of the need to protect it.
At once feared and revered, sharks have captivated people since our earliest human encounters. Children and adults alike stand awed before aquarium shark tanks, fascinated by the giant teeth and unnerving eyes. And no swim in the ocean is undertaken without a slight shiver of anxiety about the very real—and very cinematic—dangers of shark bites. But our interactions with sharks are not entirely one-sided: the threats we pose to sharks through fisheries, organized hunts, and gill nets on coastlines are more deadly and far-reaching than any bite. In Sharks and People acclaimed wildlife photographer Thomas Peschak presents stunning photographs that capture the relationship between people and sharks around the globe.
A contributing photographer to National Geographic, Peschak is best known for his unusual photographs of sharks—his iconic image of a great white shark following a researcher in a small yellow kayak is one of the most recognizable shark photographs in the world. The other images gathered here are no less riveting, bringing us as close as possible to sharks in the wild. Alongside the photographs, Sharks and People tells the compelling story of the natural history of sharks. Sharks have roamed the oceans for more than four hundred million years, and in this time they have never stopped adapting to the ever-changing world—their unique cartilage skeletons and array of super-senses mark them as one of the most evolved groups of animals. Scientists have recently discovered that sharks play an important role in balancing the ocean, including maintaining the health of coral reefs. Yet, tens of millions of sharks are killed every year just to fill the demand for shark fin soup alone. Today more than sixty species of sharks, including hammerhead, mako, and oceanic white-tip sharks, are listed as vulnerable or in danger of extinction.
The need to understand the significant part sharks play in the oceanic ecosystem has never been so urgent, and Peschak’s photographs bear witness to the thrilling strength and unique attraction of sharks. They are certain to enthrall and inspire.
From the Bible’s “Canst thou raise leviathan with a hook?” to Captain Ahab’s “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee!,” from the trials of Job to the legends of Sinbad, whales have breached in the human imagination as looming figures of terror, power, confusion, and mystery.
In the twentieth century, however, our understanding of and relationship to these superlatives of creation underwent some astonishing changes, and with The Sounding of the Whale, D. Graham Burnett tells the fascinating story of the transformation of cetaceans from grotesque monsters, useful only as wallowing kegs of fat and fertilizer, to playful friends of humanity, bellwethers of environmental devastation, and, finally, totems of the counterculture in the Age of Aquarius. When Burnett opens his story, ignorance reigns: even Nature was misclassifying whales at the turn of the century, and the only biological study of the species was happening in gruesome Arctic slaughterhouses. But in the aftermath of World War I, an international effort to bring rational regulations to the whaling industry led to an explosion of global research—and regulations that, while well-meaning, were quashed, or widely flouted, by whaling nations, the first shot in a battle that continues to this day. The book closes with a look at the remarkable shift in public attitudes toward whales that began in the 1960s, as environmental concerns and new discoveries about whale behavior combined to make whales an object of sentimental concern and public adulation.
A sweeping history, grounded in nearly a decade of research, The Sounding of the Whale tells a remarkable story of how science, politics, and simple human wonder intertwined to transform the way we see these behemoths from below.
Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods—the ancestors of modern squid and Earth’s first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean’s former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game. Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence. Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight’s menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world—along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric—will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.
Our oceans are becoming increasingly inhospitable to life—growing toxicity and rising temperatures coupled with overfishing have led many marine species to the brink of collapse. And yet there is one creature that is thriving in this seasick environment: the beautiful, dangerous, and now incredibly numerous jellyfish. As foremost jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin describes in Stung!, the jellyfish population bloom is highly indicative of the tragic state of the world’s ocean waters, while also revealing the incredible tenacity of these remarkable creatures.
Recent documentaries about swarms of giant jellyfish invading Japanese fishing grounds and summertime headlines about armadas of stinging jellyfish in the Mediterranean and Chesapeake are only the beginning—jellyfish are truly taking over the oceans. Despite their often dazzling appearance, jellyfish are simple creatures with simple needs: namely, fewer predators and competitors, warmer waters to encourage rapid growth, and more places for their larvae to settle and grow. In general, oceans that are less favorable to fish are more favorable to jellyfish, and these are the very conditions that we are creating through mechanized trawling, habitat degradation, coastal construction, pollution, and climate change.
Despite their role as harbingers of marine destruction, jellyfish are truly enthralling creatures in their own right, and in Stung!, Gershwin tells stories of jellyfish both attractive and deadly while illuminating many interesting and unusual facts about their behaviors and environmental adaptations. She takes readers back to the Proterozoic era, when jellyfish were the top predator in the marine ecosystem—at a time when there were no fish, no mammals, and no turtles; and she explores the role jellies have as middlemen of destruction, moving swiftly into vulnerable ecosystems. The story of the jellyfish, as Gershwin makes clear, is also the story of the world’s oceans, and Stung! provides a unique and urgent look at their inseparable histories—and future.
A perfect fish in the evolutionary sense, the broadbill swordfish derives its name from its distinctive bill—much longer and wider than the bill of any other billfish—which is flattened into the sword we all recognize. And though the majesty and allure of this warrior fish has commanded much attention—from adventurous sportfishers eager to land one to ravenous diners eager to taste one—no one has yet been bold enough to truly take on the swordfish as a biographer. Who better to do so than Richard Ellis, a master of marine natural history? Swordfish: A Biography of the Ocean Gladiator is his masterly ode to this mighty fighter.
The swordfish, whose scientific name means “gladiator,” can take on anyone and anything, including ships, boats, sharks, submarines, divers, and whales, and in this book Ellis regales us with tales of its vitality and strength. Ellis makes it easy to understand why it has inspired so many to take up the challenge of epic sportfishing battles as well as the longline fishing expeditions recounted by writers such as Linda Greenlaw and Sebastian Junger. Ellis shows us how the bill is used for defense—contrary to popular opinion it is not used to spear prey, but to slash and debilitate, like a skillful saber fencer. Swordfish, he explains, hunt at the surface as well as thousands of feet down in the depths, and like tuna and some sharks, have an unusual circulatory system that gives them a significant advantage over their prey, no matter the depth in which they hunt. Their adaptability enables them to swim in waters the world over—tropical, temperate, and sometimes cold—and the largest ever caught on rod and reel was landed in Chile in 1953, weighing in at 1,182 pounds (and this heavyweight fighter, like all the largest swordfish, was a female).
Ellis’s detailed and fascinating, fact-filled biography takes us behind the swordfish’s huge, cornflower-blue eyes and provides a complete history of the fish from prehistoric fossils to its present-day endangerment, as our taste for swordfish has had a drastic effect on their population the world over. Throughout, the book is graced with many of Ellis’s own drawings and paintings, which capture the allure of the fish and bring its splendor and power to life for armchair fishermen and landlocked readers alike.
“It was the first time I’d seen what the ocean may have looked like thousands of years ago.” That’s conservation scientist Gregory S. Stone talking about his initial dive among the corals and sea life surrounding the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific. Worldwide, the oceans are suffering. Corals are dying off at an alarming rate, victims of ocean warming and acidification—and their loss threatens more than 25 percent of all fish species, who depend on the food and shelter found in coral habitats. Yet in the waters off the Phoenix Islands, the corals were healthy, the fish populations pristine and abundant—and Stone and his companion on the dive, coral expert David Obura, determined that they were going to try their best to keep it that way.
Underwater Eden tells the story of how they succeeded, against great odds, in making that dream come true, with the establishment in 2008 of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). It’s a story of cutting-edge science, fierce commitment, and innovative partnerships rooted in a determination to find common ground among conservationists, business interests, and governments—all backed up by hard-headed economic analysis.
Creating the world’s largest (and deepest) UNESCO World Heritage Site was by no means easy or straightforward. Underwater Eden takes us from the initial dive, through four major scientific expeditions and planning meetings over the course of a decade, to high-level negotiations with the government of Kiribati—a small island nation dependent on the revenue from the surrounding fisheries. How could the people of Kiribati, and the fishing industry its waters supported, be compensated for the substantial income they would be giving up in favor of posterity? And how could this previously little-known wilderness be transformed into one of the highest-profile international conservation priorities?
Step by step, conservation and its priorities won over the doubters, and Underwater Eden is the stunningly illustrated record of what was saved. Each chapter reveals—with eye-popping photographs—a different aspect of the science and conservation of the underwater and terrestrial life found in and around the Phoenix Islands’ coral reefs. Written by scientists, politicians, and journalists who have been involved in the conservation efforts since the beginning, the chapters brim with excitement, wonder, and confidence—tempered with realism and full of lessons that the success of PIPA offers for other ambitious conservation projects worldwide.
Simultaneously a valentine to the diversity, resilience, and importance of the oceans and a riveting account of how conservation really can succeed against the toughest obstacles, Underwater Eden is sure to enchant any ocean lover, whether ecotourist or armchair scuba diver.
Relating his experiences caring for endangered whales, a veterinarian and marine scientist shows we can all share in the salvation of these imperiled animals.
The image most of us have of whalers includes harpoons and intentional trauma. Yet eating commercially caught seafood leads to whales’ entanglement and slow death in rope and nets, and the global shipping routes that bring us readily available goods often lead to death by collision. We—all of us—are whalers, marine scientist and veterinarian Michael Moore contends. But we do not have to be.
Drawing on over forty years of fieldwork with humpback, pilot, fin, and in particular, North Atlantic right whales—a species whose population has declined more than twenty percent since 2017—Moore takes us with him as he performs whale necropsies on animals stranded on beaches, in his independent research alongside whalers using explosive harpoons, and as he tracks injured whales to deliver sedatives. The whales’ plight is a complex, confounding, and disturbing one. We learn of existing but poorly enforced conservation laws, of perennial (and often failed) efforts to balance the push for fisheries profit versus the protection of endangered species caught by accident.
But despite these challenges, Moore’s tale is an optimistic one. He shows us how technologies for rope-less fishing and the acoustic tracking of whale migrations make a dramatic difference. And he looks ahead with hope as our growing understanding of these extraordinary creatures fuels an ever-stronger drive for change.
In January 2010, the Gemini was moored in the Swinomish Slough on a Native American reservation near Anacortes, Washington. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the rusted and dilapidated boat was in fact the most famous fishing vessel ever to have sailed: the original Western Flyer, immortalized in John Steinbeck’s nonfiction classic The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
In this book, Kevin M. Bailey resurrects this forgotten witness to the changing tides of Pacific fisheries. He draws on the Steinbeck archives, interviews with family members of crew, and more than three decades of working in Pacific Northwest fisheries to trace the depletion of marine life through the voyages of a single ship. After Steinbeck and his friend Ed Ricketts—a pioneer in the study of the West Coast’s diverse sea life and the inspiration behind “Doc” in Cannery Row—chartered the boat for their now-famous 1940 expedition, the Western Flyer returned to its life as a sardine seiner in California. But when the sardine fishery in Monterey collapsed, the boat moved on: fishing for Pacific ocean perch off Washington, king crab in the Bering Sea off Alaska, and finally wild Pacific salmon—all industries that would also face collapse.
As the Western Flyer herself faces an uncertain future—a businessman has bought her, intending to bring the boat to Salinas, California, and turn it into a restaurant feature just blocks from Steinbeck’s grave—debates about the status of the California sardine, and of West Coast fisheries generally, have resurfaced. A compelling and timely tale of a boat and the people it carried, of fisheries exploited, and of fortunes won and lost, The Western Flyer is environmental history at its best: a journey through time and across the sea, charting the ebb and flow of the cobalt waters of the Pacific coast.
The eighty-nine cetacean species that swim our seas and rivers are as diverse as they are intelligent and elusive, from the hundred-foot-long, two-hundred-ton blue whale to the lesser-known tucuxi, ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, and diminutive, critically endangered vaquita. The huge distances these highly migratory creatures cover and the depths they dive mean we catch only the merest glimpses of their lives as they break the surface of the water. But thanks to the marriage of science and technology, we are now beginning to understand their anatomy, complex social structures, extraordinary communication abilities, and behavioral patterns. In this beautifully illustrated guide, renowned marine mammalogist Annalisa Berta draws on the contributions of a pod of fellow whale biologists to present the most comprehensive, authoritative overview ever published of these remarkable aquatic mammals.
Opening with an accessible rundown of cetacean biology—including the most recent science on feeding, mating, and communication—Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises then presents species-specific natural history on a range of topics, from anatomy and diet to distribution and conservation status. Each entry also includes original drawings of the species and its key identifiers, such as fin shape and color, tooth shape, and characteristic markings as they would appear both above and below water—a feature unique to this book.
Figures of myth and—as the debate over hunting rages on—figures of conflict since long before the days of Moby-Dick, whales, dolphins, and porpoises are also ecologically important and, in many cases, threatened. Written for general enthusiasts, emergent cetacean fans, and biologists alike, this stunning, urgently needed book will serve as the definitive guide for years to come.